A picturesque Village, a 17th Century Fortress and an
North-west of Delhi, beyond the western edge of the Yamuna basin, lies the Land of the Yamuna basin, lies the Land of the Five Rivers, universally known as the Punjab. Endowed with rich agricultural soil, plentiful irrigation and equable climatic conditions, the state is sometimes called the granary of India. Its villages, large and small, are key to the robust Punjabi attitude to life that has evolved through cross-cultural influences down the ages. The regions is also home to the origin of the Sikh faith whose founder Guru Nanak preached here till his death 460 years ago in 1539. With neighbouring Haryana, Punjab shares its capital at Chandigarh where excellent train, road and air services connect the 250 km distance to Delhi.
From Chandigarh, barely 75 km up the highway towards Dharamsala and Manali, lies Anandpur Sahib, the impressive gurudwara that is one of the holiest Sikh Shrines. Its picturesque village, flanked by a 17th century fortress, is framed between the Shivalik hills to the east and the Sutlej river farther away in the west. Nature has been generous here. Much of the year, vast green expanses will greet the visitor during the journey and also at the destination. Be they the kharif (summer) crops of maize and paddy or the rabi (winter) wheat emblazoned with mustard, there is a profusion of sylvan tranquillity all round.
Before the monsoon, the early sunrise will be followed by groups of men and women setting out to ready their fields for the kharif sowing. with the rainfall, the landscape transforms to extensive waterlogged patches where the paddy must stand before it gets ready for the harvest.
The rabi season is different. Shawl flung across the shoulder, one's famer friend will walk one through the bracing air to where the buffaloes are tethered. Under the canopy of a peepul tree on the fringe of the repining, golden wheat, there is simply no gastronomic experience to match a thali of sarson da saag with makke di roti topped off with a tall glass of fresh lassi.
As one goes towards the interior, some of the elders will readily draw up a cot to sit and barter information over a drink of sugarcane juice. Interspersed with gentle Gurmukhi, the language of the Granth Sahib or holy scripture of the faith, the conversation will veer round to the quality of the crop, the prices of agricultural inputs and how modern technology has been double-edged in its possibilities for multicropping but at escalating cost!
One of the commonest means of transport is the ubiquitous tractor. As its sputter punctures the calm of the village, one may join a colourfully dressed group setting off to the market. And when it is harvest time, virtually the entire village will lend a hand to cut and thresh the crop and stack it up before it is despatched for sale to the nearest mandi.
Around this time, the festival of Baisakhi will witness renewed vigous. One may join in the zesty bhangra as gaily-attired men and women charge the air to a resounding drumbeat. Or on the day after Holi, join in the celebration of Hola Mohalla for a re-enactment of the old bnattles that bore testimony of Sikh valour. In the distance, the Sutlej flows on, having descended to the plains near Anandpur Sahib through its timeless journey from Rakshas Tal at the foot of Mount Kailash in Tibet.
1. By Air : Nearest Airport at Chandigarh (75km away)
2. By Rail : Nearest railhead at Nangal
3. By Road : From Chandigarh
Where to Stay
Free accomodation at the gurudwara or standard hotels at Nangal and Ropar.